Rawson Custom Woodworks,LLC Blog Article: "The Top 5 Most Essential Tools for Any Woodshop"
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February 9, 2013

The Top 5 Most Essential Tools for Any Woodshop

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Here at Rawson Custom Woodworks, LLC, one of the most frequent questions we receive from woodworking enthusiasts is, “What are the most important tools to have in a shop?” If you have ever looked at a woodworking catalog, you know there are so many different tools to buy for your shop. Even if you have a small shop (For instance, our entire business started in a small garage), the choices can be overwhelming. So, bottom line, what tools are essential for your shop?

· Table Saw
wood table saw

A table saw is the center piece of any shop. It serves from a work-horse machine to even a work bench. So much can be done with this one tool. The most prominent use for a table saw is to rip and size wood, but a table saw can also be used to cut multiple styles of joints, such as dado, rabbet, and half-lap. Also, it is even possible to cut tongue and grove slots for doors and panels with a table saw. With its versatility, a table saw is the number one most essential tool for your wood shop, but it is not the only essential tool.

· Power Drill
power drill

A power drill may seem like an obvious tool to have in your shop, but many overlook investing in a quality drill. With a good power drill, you can do just about everything you can do with a full drill press such as set shelf pins, door hinges, and mortise slots. Moreover, a power drill is essential for cabinet and furniture assembly. For example, the Kreg screw system (Kreg.com)is a simple, quick, and effective technique for any type of woodworking construction. This system can take the place of the biscuit construction method, which makes it especially useful for face frame construction. Of course, if you don’t have a quality power drill, using a screw construction system is pointless. So, a power drill is an essential tool for your wood shop.

· Router
wood router

A router is another essential tool for your wood shop because, just like the table saw, a router is a versatile tool. A router can do edge work, plunge work, and sizing work. A high quality router can even take the place of a shaper and jointer. By attaching a router table, you can use a router to cut profiles onto doors and panels, just like a shaper. You can also use the router table to edge wood, just like a jointer. One of a router’s main uses is plunge work. With a router, you can carve out large sections of wood. Many people have used this tool to complete creative pieces, such as carved signs and furniture. In addition, a router is the best tool for cutting dove-tail and finger joints for drawer construction. With its many uses, a router is a must have tool for your wood shop.

· Chop saw
metal and wood chop saw

A chop saw is a work-horse machine. Its main purpose is to simply cut things. It is one of the primary tools used in sizing wood. Most chop saws have a limited depth, so they are used, mostly, for sizing the length of wood (where a table saw would be used to size the width). However, another important use of a chop saw is cutting precise miters. Miter cuts are crucial for installing any type of trim work, such as furniture trim, crown trip, and base trim. However, miters can also be used for joinery. Miter joints are a great joinery technique for boxes and frames, such as jewelry boxes and picture frames. Just like the other tools on our list, the chop saw is a versatile tool, making it an essential tool for your wood shop.

· Random Orbital and Pad Sanders
Random orbital 
   wood sander

A random orbital sander and pad sander are used together in finishing any wood project. A random orbital sander is great for sanding away heavy layers of wood (such as a joint that didn’t glue together flush), and a pad sander is great for fine sanding. In order for a project to be up to professional grade, it must be sanded repeatedly in order to refine the surface of the wood until it is smooth to the touch. To accomplish this, all you need is a good set of sanders, making a random orbital and pad sander an essential pair of tools for you wood shop.

Of course, there are many more tools, than the ones on our list, that you can have in your wood shop. However, these five tools will enable you to build just about any type of project. With these five tools, you can precisely size lumber, construct the main types of joinery, and assembly and finish any type of project. In other words, these five tools are the essential tools for any wood shop.

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